Best free online screen recorders

Edited by Paula Beaton

June 28, 2021

Screen recorders are brilliant programs that let you record what’s happening on your computer screen, whether you want to record tutorials or product demos, capture a team meeting, or record your screen to show a friend how to do something. But if you’re on a budget, some of the more expensive software might be out of your reach. Don’t worry – there are plenty of excellent free options, and in this article we’ll compare some of the best online screen recorders. You’ll also find answers to frequently asked questions about online screen recording.

Comparison of the best screen recorders online

Software

License

Best for

Screen CaptureFree with limitationsRecording training sessions or meetings
Acethinker Free Online Screen RecorderFreeRecording gameplay, tutorials, and presentations
Apowersoft Free Online Screen RecorderFreeThose looking for features like annotation and sharing as well as screen recording
Panopto ExpressFreeTeachers or professionals creating educational content
ClipchampFree with limitationsAnyone looking for a basic recorder who doesn’t mind videos being in standard definition with watermarks
HippoVideoFree trial (7 days)Those looking for a cloud-based editor and don’t mind paying after the free trial
FlexClipFreePersonal users who don’t record their screen all that often
CovideoFree trialSmall businesses and professionals in marketing, customer service, and sales who want to record, send, and track video emails
LoomFree with limitationsThose who want to send video messages at work and embed them in their favorite apps like Slack and Notion
VidyardFreeMarketing and sales professionals, trainers, or tech support professionals
ScreencastifyFree with limitationsGreat for anyone but especially educators, marketers, UX designers, and trainers

Best free online screen recorders with no download needed

Best for: Those looking for a free online screen recorder to record training sessions or work meetings.

Rating: 4.6/5 stars, 107 positive reviews

If you’re looking for a web-based screen recorder, Screencapture is one of the best free recorders around. You can get started straight away, with nothing to download, record your webcam, voice, and sounds from your computer system.

Pros:

  • Totally free and online
  • No software to download

Cons:

  • Requires a subscription to remove a watermark

Best for: Recording gameplay, tutorials, and presentations.

Rating: 4.1/5 stars, 121 reviews

Acethinker Free Online Screen Recorder is an excellent free online screen recording tool that’s easy to use. You can capture all or part of your screen and record audio and video as well as your webcam. Best of all, you can set it up to record then leave it to do its thing.

Pros:

  • Totally free
  • Save in a wide range of formats including MP4, AVI, and MOV
  • Directly upload recordings to YouTube, Google Drive, Video, and Dropbox

Cons:

  • Not as fully featured as some paid software

Best for: Those who want to edit and share recordings as well as those looking for more basic recording functions.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder provides one-click recording that’s easy to use – although you will need to download the launcher. This screen recorder online allows you to record video, audio, and your webcam – and with one click you can share to YouTube, RecCloud, etc. You can also export videos in a wide range of formats including MP4, AVI, WMV, and more.

Pros:

  • No recording time limits
  • Insert your webcam while recording
  • No watermarks

Cons:

  • You need to download the launcher to get started
  • Not for recording games

Best for: Teachers or professionals creating video lessons and presentations.

Rating: 4.1/5 stars, 75 reviews

If you’re looking for a free online video capture tool, Panopto Express is an excellent choice. There are no time limits on recordings, you can quickly and easily share recordings to YouTube, Google Classroom, or through Panopto, and there’s no software to download or install, so you can get started recording straightaway.

Pros:

  • Edit and share content within Panopto
  • Easily switch between slides and video
  • Record webcam using SmartCam technology
  • Simple to control permissions for viewing videos

Cons:

  • Basic UI
  • The program can be a bit clunky at times
  • Recordings can only be downloaded in MP4 format

Best for: Anyone looking for a basic recorder who doesn’t mind videos being in standard definition with watermarks.

Rating: 4.6/5 stars, 3,442 reviews

Clipchamp is an excellent free online screen recorder with no download that allows you to record unlimited videos for free – although you’re limited to 480p resolution and videos are watermarked. There are three plans you can upgrade to for HD exports and additional features, starting from $9 per month. Clipchamp also includes professional editing features and supports a wide range of popular formats.

Pros:

  • Free version
  • Choice of three paid plans
  • Professional editing tool lets you trim, add filters, text, and titles
  • Wide range of integrations like Chrome, Drive, Dropbox, etc.

Cons:

  • Users report the software crashes regularly
  • Basic (free) plan only offers 480p exports
  • Watermarks on the free plan

Best for: Professionals looking for a fully-featured online recorder who don’t mind paying after the free trial.

Rating: 4.4/5 stars, 208 reviews

HippoVideo is a popular cloud-based free online video capture tool that offers a 7-day free trial. After this, you can upgrade to paid plans starting from $30 per month. Recordings with HippoVideo have no watermarks and are in HD quality, and there’s a professional editing suite too.

Pros:

  • Free trial
  • No watermarks
  • Editing tools like crop, annotate, add text, etc.
  • The browser extension works with Chrome, Firefox, and Opera

Cons:

  • Needs payment after a free trial and subscription plans are quite expensive
  • Need to download a browser extension
  • Not the most intuitive and takes a while to learn

Best for: Personal users who don’t need a screen recorder all that often.

Rating: 4.4/5 stars, 715 reviews

FlexClip is a popular free online screen recorder no download that works in your browser. Unlike some free screen recorders, it has a fully-featured editing suite that lets you adjust video speed, add overlays, text, and other elements to your recording, and even preview it. You can get started recording with one click, but to export or save videos you’ll need to register via email, or your Facebook or Google account.

Pros:

  • Totally free to use
  • No download required
  • Fully featured editing suite
  • Share entire screen, window, or browser tab

Cons:

  • Support can be slow
  • Issues with downloading files – users say they have lost completed projects
  • Need to sign up for a (free) account to download or export recordings

Best for: Small businesses and professionals in marketing, customer service, and sales who want to record, send, and track video emails.

Rating: 4.9/5 stars, 65 reviews

Covideo is a no java desktop screen recorder that works through a browser extension – and there are mobile apps for iOS and Android too. It’s easy to use and there’s a free trial, after which you can sign up to a monthly or annual plan from $49 per user, per month. It includes features like a customizable video player, a library of ready-to-use landing page designs, and social sharing, as well as editing tools. When you subscribe, you can also access a range of add-on features like captions, custom landing pages, etc.

Pros:

  • Free trial
  • Great for small businesses as billed per user
  • Easy to use
  • Mobile app

Cons:

  • Can become expensive for larger businesses
  • Not many customization options
  • Can log you out while videos are uploading

Best for: Those who want to send video messages at work and embed them in their favorite apps like Slack and Notion.

Rating: 4.7/5 stars, 10K reviews, 5M users

Loom is a browser extension for Chrome that’s free to install, uses no Java, and records anything on your screen, even outside of Chrome. It’s easy to use and quick to get started recording. The free Starter plan includes a Team Workspace for up to 25 users but caps video recording length at 5 minutes, and you can only see your 100 most recent recordings in your Workspace. You can upgrade to a paid plan from $8 per creator, per month. Loom features an editing suite and engagement tools to see who’s watched your video and also integrates with a wide range of other tools.

Pros:

  • Free plan
  • Editing tools
  • Free to students and teachers at many educational institutions
  • Record and share Looms in GitHub, Jira, and Jira Service Desk

Cons:

  • The free plan is capped at 5 minutes recording length
  • The extension is only for Chrome

Best for: Marketing and sales professionals, trainers, or tech support professionals.

Rating: 4.3/5 stars, 1,182 reviews, 400K users

Vidyard is a free Chrome browser extension that is easy to use. As well as recording your webcam, screen, or both, you can edit recordings, add animated GIF thumbnails, draw on the screen while you’re recording, and add speaking notes. Vidyard also integrates with Gmail for easy sharing, or you can share recordings directly to social media, upload them to YouTube, or embed them on your site.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Directly share recordings via email or to social media
  • Editing and annotation tools

Cons:

  • Time limit of 1 hour for recordings
  • Need to create an account (or use a Google account) to share or download recordings
  • Video can be laggy, sometimes not syncing up with the audio

Best for: Great for anyone but especially educators, marketers, UX designers, and trainers.

Rating: 4/5 stars, 11K reviews, 10M users

Screencastify is a free online video capture extension for Google Chrome. There’s a free plan which caps recording length at 5 minutes, or you can upgrade to a paid plan from $49 per year. With Screencastify there are no watermarks and you can capture your entire screen, current browser tab, or webcam. Editing tools include trimming, annotations, merge and crop, zoom, and more, and you can export your recording as an MP4, animated GIF, or MP3.

Pros:

  • Free version or paid plan
  • Runs offline
  • No watermark
  • Full HD resolution
  • Easy to share to Google Classroom, Google Drive, or YouTube

Cons:

  • Time limit of 5 minutes for free plan recordings
  • May lag on older computers if you have multiple tabs open while recording
  • If upgrading to the paid recording plan, you’ll also need to pay extra for editing tools

How to choose web recorders

With so many free web recorders around, how do you choose the best online screen recorder for you? There are a number of different factors you’ll want to consider:

  • OS compatibility: This is one of the most important things to consider. Whether you’re using a Mac, Linux, or Windows system or looking for a recorder with an iOS or Android app, you need to ensure the recorder you choose is compatible with your OS.
  • Video quality: Some recorders capture your screen in SD quality, while others offer HD 1080p resolution. If professional, crisp videos are a must, you’ll want to opt for those providing HD output.
  • Video output/download: Look for a screen recorder online that allows you to download your videos to your device – or to the Cloud if you don’t want to store files on your hard drive. There are some recorders that don’t do either and simply allow you to share your creations online. Also consider what output formats are supported, such as AVI, MP4, MOV, etc.
  • Editing tools: Some web recorders have no editing tools at all, others offer basic tools to trim and crop your videos, while some have a full editing suite available to help you create polished, professional videos.
  • Markup: If you’re creating tutorials or training videos, you might want a web recorder with markup options so you can annotate and draw on your screen captures.
  • Watermarks: You’ll find free recorders that watermark every video, and those that don’t – so if you don’t want branding on your captures, look for one where you can remove watermarks.
  • Audio quality: It’s not just the video quality that matters – the audio is also vital to ensure those watching your video can understand what you’re saying. Some recorders only use system audio, but for the best audio quality – without background noise – look for one that allows you to use an external mic.
  • Webcam recording: If you want the option to record your webcam (either by itself or at the same time as a screen capture) then this is a feature to look out for, as not all screen recorders offer this.
  • Effects: This might not be something you need, but if you’re creating professional videos, look out for web recorders that offer effects like chroma key (to add different virtual backgrounds) as well as other effects like blur or zoom.

By taking some time to think about the factors and features that matter the most to you, you’ll have a better chance of choosing the best online screen recorder to suit your needs.

Frequently asked questions

Is an online screen recorder safe?

Most web-based screen recorders, including Screencapture, guarantee security and confidentiality, so there’s no need to worry about safety or privacy issues.

How can I record my screen online?

You can use one of the best free recorders like Screencapture to record your screen. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. In your browser, go to screencapture.com
  2. Tick the options you want on the screen – select Sound to record a video with sound, and Microphone if you’re using an external mic. You can also uncheck the Watermark box by purchasing the subscription, and select if you want to record your webcam or not.
  3. Hit Start Recording.
  4. You should see a pop-up window that says Choose what to share. Here, you can choose whether to share your entire screen, a window, or the current (or any other open) Chrome tab. You can also tick the box at the bottom left to share audio.
  5. Click Share and recording should start automatically.
  6. To stop recording, click Stop recording. You can click Download to download your video to your device.

What is the best online screen recorder?

There’s not really one best online screen recorder for everyone, as it depends on your needs and preferences. There are plenty of programs out there to choose from, and we’d recommend choosing from one of the online recorders mentioned in the article, listed here for your convenience:

  • Screencapture
  • Acethinker Free Online Screen Recorder
  • Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder
  • Panopto Express
  • ClipChamp
  • HippoVideo
  • FlexClip
  • Covideo
  • Loom
  • Vidyard
  • Screencastify

Paula Beaton

Paula is a seasoned content creator, copywriter, and editor, with more than 8 years of experience writing for tech and travel brands such as Thomas Cook, Skyscanner, Eltima Software, and DigitalTrends.com, as well as many others. She studied fiction editing with Liminal Pages in 2016 and launched her fiction editing business the same year, working with publishers in the UK and US and authors from around the world across a range of genres, from sci-fi and fantasy to thrillers and crime fiction. Today she writes regularly for DigitalTrends.com and Skyscanner's blog. She's also passionate about film photography and enjoys gaming.